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It is one of the highlights of the International horse racing season, and often talked about in the same breath as such top-class fixtures as the Breeders’ Cup, Royal Ascot, the Melbourne Cup and the Dubai Carnival; and the Hong Kong International Races – also known as the Turf World Championships – takes place in December.

Held at Hong Kong’s Sha-Tin Racecourse, four top-class Group One contests headline an invariably star-studded International collection of some of the best racehorses from around the globe. The four races, the Hong Kong Cup; Hong Kong Mile; Hong Kong Vase, and the Hong Kong Sprint attract a global audience, and with massive winners’ purses on offer in all four top-class contests, it is little wonder the fixture has true worldwide appeal for horse racing fans.

Hong Kong Cup

Of the fabulous foursome, the Hong Kong Cup is arguably the jewel in the crown, and the Group One contest takes place over a 2000 metre distance – around ten furlongs – for the race which is the richest race in the world over the trip.

First run in 1988, making it the oldest of the four races which make up the Hong Kong International Races, the race has progressed not only in distance – it was first run over 1800 metres – but also in prestige, opening its’ doors to international contenders the following year for runners from Australia and New Zealand. 

From 1990, European runners were invited to participate; while following years saw first horses from the United States, and then Canada and Japan also invited to join the fray for the top-class prize.

The race has produced notable winners, over the years with the likes of A Shin Hikare, California Memory, Snow Fairy, Vision d’Etat, Fantastic Light and Falbrav all feature amongst a classy list of winners; while there is sure to be many more top-class winners in the years to come.

Hong Kong Mile

First introduced in 1991, the 1600 metre – one mile – Hong Kong Mile contest is the second of the top-class quartet of races that make up the Hong Kong International Races meeting.

However, the classy contest was once known by a different title – the Hong Kong International Bowl – and took place over a distance short of one mile with a 1400 metre trip. However, the race took its new incarnation, changing its’ name and distance in 1999.

Having attained Group One status in 2000, the race carries a huge winners’ purse, and has produced such winners as the mighty Able Friend, Able One, three-time winner Good Ba Ba and Firebreak amongst others.

Hong Kong Vase

The third of the four top-class contests that make up the Turf World Championships, the Hong Kong Vase was first introduced into the line-up in 1994.

Taking place over the longest trip of 2,400 metres – 1.5 miles – the race wasn’t always a Group One contest, attaining that lofty status in 2000. Throughout its’ years to date, thee race has held a particular affinity for European raiders, and the late Clive Brittain won the race twice in succesive years with the high-class Luso.

There have been plenty of significant winners of this race over the years, many of whom have enjoyed plenty of international success with the likes of Highland Reel, Flintshire, Red Cadeaux, dual-winner Doctor Dino and Oujia Board all featuring on a star-studded roll-of-honour.

The Ivan Allan-trained Indigenous became the first Hong Kong-trained runner to win the Vase, taking the top-class prize in 1998. 

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Hong Kong Sprint

The baby of the quartet, the Hong Kong Sprint is the most recent addition to the line-up, and the top-class dash held its’ first running in 1999, where it was contested over a trip of 1000 metres.

The richest race in the world over that distance up until 2006, the race changed in 2002 where it was awarded Group One status; although the race didn’t change in distance until 2006 when it was increased to its’ current trip of 1200 metres, or six furlongs.

Remaining as one of the richest sprints over the trip or shorter, the race is the final leg in the Global Sprint Challenge, which also includes races such as the Golden Shaheen at Meydan; the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot; the July Cup at Newmarket; and the Age Classic at Flemington.

History has shown a penchant for the race to throw up multiple winners of the race, with Falvelon, Silent Witness, Sacred Kingdom and Lord Kanaloa all capturing the top-class sprint on more than one occasion; while other notable winners include Peniaphobia and JJ the Jet Place.

Key Worldwide Races

Punters should pay close attention to some notable global contests throughout the season for pointers and likely runners to contest in one of the four Hong Kong International races.

The Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate are top-class contests that can produce runners in etiher the Hong Kong Vase, or the Hong Kong Cup; while it isn’t uncommon for Breeders’ Cup heroes and heroines to make the long journey to Sha-Tin for one final crack at a big prize that season.

British Champions’ Day at Ascot, as well as Royal Ascot and the Newmarket July Meeting, as well as the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting all invariably generate runners at the Hong Kong showpiece.

Hong Long Racing Live Stream

The Hong Kong International Races attract such a worldwide audience that the races from Sha-Tin are often televised in the early hours of the morning through broadcasters such as At The Races; while online bookmakers such as Bet365 will have live streaming action for all four top-class contests that go to post, so armchair punters around the world won’t miss out on a minute of the action.

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